Maternity – Home Birth, choice of birthplace

Lead: Citywide

Period: 26th Feb 2018 - 27th Mar 2018

We asked women, families, the wider public and health professionals about their perceptions of birthplace and what the risk around choice of birthplace might be.

Brief Summary of project

The engagement was to investigate local preferences around birthplace and perceptions or risk around the choices available to women and families.  The aim is to provide women and families with clear and simple information about home birth in order for them to make an informed decision about where they choose to give birth and to increase the number of parents who want to give birth at home, as in Leeds, this is much lower than other areas of the country.

Who did we speak to?

We spoke to 126 members of the public and 62 members of staff.

What and how did we ask?

Using a survey, we asked people what type of things they felt informed people’s choice of home birth and what information could influence a person’s perspective.  We also asked staff how confident they felt discussing all available options for place of birth with women.

What did people tell us?

People told us that hospital birth was commonly framed as the default option for families and the choice of birthplace was perceived to be informed by a number of factors. Awareness of home birth across the engagement was variable.  The advice given by health care professionals and positive and negative stories about types of birthing were seen as key mechanisms for opinion change.  Professionals felt that advice from staff, family members, friends about their past experiences were powerful in helping to inform people’s choice of birth.  Clear information about all the options as well as the support available was felt to be important.  Staff also felt patient stories about types of birthing were important to change a person’s preference about the choice of birth place during and before pregnancy.

Key findings

  • Safety & risk of birthing is key for staff and public
  • There is a deficit of knowledge  and  information around  home birth
  • Support & safety is important
  • Being in control is important
  • Access to stories of experiences is important

What did we do?

We are working on improving the information we provide for women and families.  We asked people what they want to know about home birth and where they would go to find the answers.  This information has been used to create a  useful FAQ document.  As people told us real-life experiences are key, we have filmed a number of home birth stories and have shared these on our website and social media platforms. Home birth midwives are participating in staff mandatory training so staff will be better informed.

Downloads:

Home birth – choice of birthplace – Engagement report (447KB)

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Home birth – choice of birthplace – Engagement plan (376KB)

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Home birth – choice of birthplace – Engagement paper (376KB)

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